Refreshing Watermelon Salsa

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Mexican food is a favorite in our household.  From tacos to salsa we love it all.  One of the things I love to create is fresh salsas and different flavors.  I think sweet and spicy always go great together. So I took a summer staple, a watermelon, and created a delicious refreshing salsa. A lot of people might think it’s weird but it works. I hope you give it a try. I promise you will not be disappointed. 
 
Also you can’t have salsa and not have a delicious margarita in hand. I used the rest of my watermelon to make a homemade margarita. 
 
Salsa Ingredients: 
2 cups watermelon, cubed 
1 Serrano pepper, diced 
1 jalapeño pepper, diced 
1/2 red onion, diced 
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 
Salt & pepper, to taste 
1 yellow bell pepper, diced 
1 orange bell pepper, diced 
2 Garlic cloves, minced 
Juice of 1 lime 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
 
Preparation: 
 
Place all of the above ingredients in a large bowl and toss until well incorporated. Enjoy with tortilla chips.
 
Margarita ingredients: 
2 cups tequila 
1 cup lime juice 
1/4 cup agave nectar, more if desired 
4 cups watermelon 
3 cups ice cubes 
 
Preparation: 
In a blender place all of the above ingredients and blend. Serve with salt or sugar on rim or nothing at all. Cheers! 

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Weelicious: Watermelon Cinnamon Granita
Homemade Delish: Refreshing Watermelon Salsa
Healthy Eats: Pretty in Pink: 6 Dishes Made Better with Watermelon
Creative Culinary: Margarita Watermelon
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Watermelon and Peach Salsa
Dishin & Dishes: Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Watermelon Salsa
Red or Green: Watermelon, Corn & Jalapeno Salad
The Mom 100: Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie
Taste with the Eyes: Unique Watermelon Salad – Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber
FN Dish: 6 Party-Ready Ways to Take Watermelon Off the Rind

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Kerrygold Ultimate burger

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Burgers are a staple to summer, and the more variety the better.  This one has become my favorite burger with a party in the mouth happening at every bite. I came up with this idea after receiving some delicious cheese from one of my favorite brands, Kerrygold cheese. For this recipe I used their smooth and soft dubliner. It seems like a lot of steps to follow but it’s worth every single one. Beer and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly. I hope you’re staying cool and enjoying your summer. Cheers!  
 
Burger Ingredients: 
1 1/2 lbs ground meat 80/20
Salt and pepper, to taste 
2/4 cups Worcestershire 
8 brioche rolls
Butter, for toasting rolls 
2 large Tomatoes, sliced for topping, optional 
Arugula, topping and optional 
 
Preparation: 
 
Season meat with s&p and worcestershire (don’t over mix meat). Form 8 patties thinner at the center then the edges. Season top of burgers again (this will give you that brown crispy crust on top). 
 
Place on a hot grill or grill pan. Cook for about 8 minutes per side for pink center or 10 minutes for well done. 
 
Smear the butter on the bread and let them toast on the grill or oven face down for 2-3 minutes. 
 
Crispy onion ingredients: 
 
1 large onion, cut into thing strips 
5 cups vegetable oil, for frying 
1/4 cup all purpose flour, to coat onions 
 
Preparation: 
 
In a small sauce pan on medium heat add vegetable oil. To check temperature of oil, place the handle of the wooden spoon into the oil. If it starts to form little bubbles around the spoon it’s ready to fry. 
 
Next add onions and fry for about 4-5 minutes. Remember not to over crowd the pan. Do in batches. Place fried onions on paper towel to soak up any extra oil. Set aside for topping. 
 
Sautéd Mushroom ingredients: 
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped 
1/2 porcini mushrooms, chopped 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1 teaspoon dried thyme 
 
Preparation: 
 
In a medium sauté pan on medium heat add mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes add s&p and thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes. Set aside when done. 
 
Beer and cheese sauce: 
 
2 tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter 
2 tablespoons all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard 
Salt & pepper, to taste 
1/2 cup Amber beer, or beer of choice 
1 cup half and half 
5 Kerrygold dubliner soft spread cheese wedges
 1/2 teaspoon horseradish 
 
Preparation: 
 
Add butter to a medium sauce pan on medium to low heat. Melt and whisk in flour. This will form a paste. Slowly add milk while whisking. Next add beer and ground mustard. Cook for about 4-5 minutes. Next add cheese wedges, whisk. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until creamy and thick, should coat the back of a spoon. Set aside when you have reached consistency. 
 
Time to plate the burger. Add the ingredients as you please. Enjoy! 

Bed Bath & Beyond Blinds

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Windows are the eyes to a house. In our new home we have a ton of windows, which makes lighting for pictures a plus. I love entertaining and having my dining room and kitchen looking it’s best, while friends and family enjoy food.  I’m excited to have partnered up with one of my favorite stores, Bed Bath & Beyond, on this project for curtains and blinds for my windows. 

 
I wanted something easy to use, clean and modern. I have always liked bigger blinds. In this case I choose the Real Simple® 2-Inch Faux Wood Blind in white. The hubby did all the installing, and it took him little time or effort. They looked amazing. 
 
Moving can always be a stressful time, but having a checklist and getting organized can be fun. Below you will find a little checklist for your next visit to bed bath & beyond. This store has everything and anything. I could spend hours in there. Remember have fun. This is the time to make your home (new or old) just the way you want it.

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Spinach and Kale Pesto

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Entertaining guests in the summer months is one of my favorite past times.  I love making fresh pesto especially with fresh ingredients from my garden or farmers market. I have always loved a traditional pesto and so does my family. For a little more nutrition, I added spinach and kale to the mix. This pesto can be used for a variety of things and is super flavorful. I used my pesto on top of crostinis topped with aged provolone. It’s a simple appetizer for any party and a crowd pleaser. 

Ingredients: 
1/3 cup fresh parsley 
1/2 cup baby kale
1/2 cup baby spinach 
Salt & pepper, to taste 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more if desired
 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
2 tablespoons pine nuts 
2 Garlic cloves, peeled 
Provolone cheese, optional for garnish
 
Ingredients baguette:
 Whole wheat baguette, sliced 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

Preparation:
 In a food process add all of the above ingredients. Blend until desired texture. Set aside. 
 Brush olive oil on sliced baguettes. Place in the oven to toast about 5 minutes. Spread pesto on top of baguette with a shaved piece of provolone cheese. Enjoy with some vino. Cheers! 

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

The Lemon Bowl: Lemony Pistachio Basil Pesto
Dishin & Dishes: Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Chops
Creative Culinary: Pesto Potato Salad with Parmesan Walnuts
Weelicious: Kale Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Garden Salad With Basil-Pesto Vinaigrette
Red or Green: Corn On The Cob With Basil-Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: Spinach and Kale Pesto
Domesticate Me: Ratatouille Quinoa Bake with Pesto and Buffalo Mozzarella
The Mom 100: Crusted Loin Lamb Chops with Mint Basil Pesto
Taste with the Eyes: Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal – Carrot Top Pesto
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Chicken Breasts with Coconut and Cilantro Pesto
Healthy Eats: Green Is the New Black: 5 Must-Try Pestos
FN Dish: 6 Non-Pasta Ways to Go Big with Pesto

Summer cocktail delight

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Refreshing cocktails are a must have in the summer either for entertaining or sitting by the pool. This is a no hassle kind of cocktail. I recommend making a pitcher; because it doesn’t last. This drink reminds me of a whiskey sour but without all that sour mix.  It’s not too sweet, but just right. Cheers! 

Ingredients: (4 servings) 
 Juice of 3 lemons
1 1/2 cups Jeremiah Weed spiced whiskey 
2-3 cups crushed ice cubes 
1/2 cup simple syrup 
2 cups club soda 
6 mint leaves, chiffonade
Lemon peels, optional for garnish 

Preparation: 
Place all of the above ingredients in a pitcher and stir. Serve, garnish and enjoy.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Hibiscus Tea Arnold Palmers, Spiked or Sober
Creative Culinary: Lime Sherbet Float with Strawberries and Prosecco
Virtually Homemade: Strawberry Swirl Pina Colada
Healthy Eats: 5 Classic Cocktails, Slimmed Down
Daisy at Home: Frozen Watermelon-ade
Homemade Delish: Summer Cocktail Delight
Taste with the Eyes: Sublime Franco-Korean Elderflower Soju Martini
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Prosecco & Chambord Cocktail
Red or Green: Fresh Watermelon & Herb Margaritas
The Mom 100: A Peach Cocktail and a Mocktail for Mixed Company
FN Dish: 6 Fruity Riffs on Classic Summer Cocktails

BLANCO Sink and Faucet

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One of the most important things in a kitchen is the sink. Since we started to remodel our new home I wanted something durable with a faucet that was high enough.  I wanted to be able to fill my tall pots with water without having to spill everything all over the place. 

I am super excited to have partnered up with an amazing company that provides you with modern and durable sinks and faucets. They have tons of selections of depth, color to size. 
When BLANCO opened its doors in the U.S., they had a 4,000 square foot warehouse.  Today, BLANCO has grown to be a leader in sinks and faucets for the kitchen.  While the growth of the company has been impressive – equally impressive is the fact that over 50% of the employees have remained with the company for 10 years or more. BLANCO’s passion for excellence and commitment to the environment, to moral capitalism and to its people is evident in the quality of the products and the people who make up the BLANCO family. 
 
The sink I chose was a BLANCODIAMOND silgranit in truffle and the faucet BLANCOCULINA mini.  It offers a quick release magnetic hand spray will not demagnetize, a dual spray feature, solid brass construction, Limited Lifetime Warranty and much more. 

It was simple to install as well.  Since we were on a budget to remodel the home we didn’t re-do the countertops so we needed a sink to fit right into the previous hole.  Blanco went ahead and found the perfect size for us. I’ll show you some before and after pictures below.  Now that I can utilize it I am beyond excited about my BLANCO sink.

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4th of July Cheesecake

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4th of July is this weekend.  It’s hard to believe that we are in July already. This patriotic cheesecake is great for serving at parties. Each layer has its own color. To give it that fresh taste I went ahead and added some summer favorite strawberries and blueberries. I hope everyone has a great and safe holiday weekend with family and friends. 

Filling Ingredients: 
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese
2-3 drops red food coloring 
2-3 drops blue food coloring
3 large eggs, room temperature

1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
12 strawberries, cut in halves or quarters 
1 cup blueberries 
 
Crust ingredients: 
 
2 cups Keebler graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoons sugar
 
Crust preparation: 
 
In a medium bowl toss together crumbs, butter and sugar. Pour the mixture in a 9 inch springform pan. Press down and to the sides of the pan. Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator
 
Cheesecake preparation: 
 

In a large bowl with an electric mixer  beat the cream cheese on medium to high speed until smooth and fluffy. Next slowly add the eggs one at a time. Add sweetened condensed. Now separate mixture in  3 different bowls. Add food coloring to each, except for one. Stir food coloring until well incorporated. Pour mixture into crust one at a time. 

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until nearly set, but jiggles a bit in the center. Cool for 1 hour. Chill  for 6 hours or overnight. Top with fruit. 

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Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Red Beet Hummus Recipe with Lemony Yogurt
The Heritage Cook: Tangy Caprese Salad with Pickled Cherries (Gluten-Free)
Creative Culinary: July 4th Red, White and Blue Patriotic Poke Cake
Weelicious: Blue Corn Chip Crusted Fish Sticks with Red Pepper Coulis
The Lemon Bowl: 3 Steps to Perfectly Cooked Sweet Corn
Bacon and Souffle: Red, White and Blue Bark
Healthy Eats: 5 Frozen Treats for a Sweet Fourth
Taste with the Eyes: Dessert for the 4th of July: Elderflower Berry Pavlova
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Best Ever Elk Burgers For The 4th of July
Red or Green: Roasted Sweet Pepper Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Heirloom Tomato Pie
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Summer Raspberry Sorbet
Homemade Delish: 4th of July Cheesecake
FN Dish: Portable Picks to Make and Take on July 4th

Brazilian Potato Salad

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This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember. It’s our own Brazilian potato salad with lots of Latin flavor. One of my favorite things in this are the hearts of palm. They remind me of artichokes. Once you give this potato salad a try you can say bye bye to the traditional potato salad, as it is always a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:
8-10 medium potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup Spanish olives, chopped
4 heats of Palm, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 can carrots and peas

Preparation:

In a large bowl add cooked potatoes (chopped in cubes), salt & pepper, toss together. Next add all of the remaining ingredients and fold everything together until well incorporated.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: French Lentil Salad with Roasted Baby Potatoes and Herbs

The Lemon Bowl: Vegan Potato Salad Recipe
Healthy Eats: Spruced-Up Spuds: 5 Better-for-You Potato Salads
Homemade Delish: Brazilian Potato Salad
The Mom 100: Egg and Potato Salad with Bacon
Creative Culinary: Sour Cream and Bacon Potato Salad
FN Dish: 7 Ways to Win at Potato Salad

Stuffed Bleu Cheese Burger with Buffalo Sauce

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At your next BBQ this is a must try burger on your grill. The all American burger just got that much better. Stuffed Bleu Cheese Burger with Buffalo Sauce, oozing with spicy, creamy goodness. I mean who doesn’t love a good buffalo dish packed with flavor?  Instead of enjoying  chips on the side I went ahead and placed it as a topping.  Grab a beer and you’re good to go. This recipe was actually featured on EVERYDAY Rachael Ray website for an #RRWHATCHACOOKIN and also is in my cookbook.

Ingredients:
1 ½ lb ground beef (80/20)
salt & ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup chives, chopped
4 teaspoons blue cheese crumbles
½ cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce
¼ cup ranch dressing
arugula, topping
lightly salted potato chips, topping
4 whole wheat buns
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:
1. Place ground meat in a medium bowl. Season with salt, pepper and chives. Mix everything together. Shape meat into 4 (1/2 inch) patties.
2. Make a well in the patties. Add a teaspoon of blue cheese crumbles into the meat. Fold over the meat until the cheese isn’t visible. Place to the side.
3. In a skillet or grill pan over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil into the pan. Add the patties, flipping only once. Cook 4 to 5 minutes for rare burgers and 8-10 minutes for well.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl add Frank’s Red Hot sauce and ranch dressing, and stir.
5. Next take a bun place patty on it. Top with sauce, arugula and chips. Serve.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Greek Lamb Burgers with Mint Tzatziki
The Lemon Bowl: Filet Burgers with Tahini Garlic Mayo
Creative Culinary: The Canyon Creek Burger from Ted’s Montana Grill
Healthy Eats: Beef and Beyond: 6 Reasons to Cook More Burger
Weelicious: BBQ Chicken Burgers
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Crispy Mexican Black Bean Burgers
Homemade Delish: Stuffed Bleu Cheese Burger with Buffalo Sauce
The Mom 100: Buffalo Turkey Burger Sliders
FN Dish: Now, That’s the Stuff: Stellar Stuffed Burgers

2015 Porsche Macan Turbo

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I wanted to share with you my review post on this beautiful car. It’s a 2015 Porsche Macan turbo, and ranks 1 out of 17 luxury compact SUVs.  Not only was this car fully load with all the Porsche has to offer but the thrill and power of driving it is amazing. If you’re looking for a luxury SUV this is it. It’s not as big as its big brother the cayenne, but it’s very roomy. My kids had enough space in the back and they loved it. The Macan gives you that sports car feel but in an SUV. Outside it looks like a sedan in size, but inside is like a whole other world with comfort, roominess and special features.

The 2015 Porsche Macan seats five, has standard all-wheel drive and comes in Macan S or Macon Turbo trims. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission come with the Macan S, while the Macan Turbo features a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine. The Porsche Macan is an all-new model for 2015. Macan Turbo zipped from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. These are just some of the amazing features the turbo has to offer, Bluetooth phone and audio compatibility, Burmester audio, lane departure assist, blind spot alert, adaptive cruise control, red seat belts, ventilated seats and more. The center console presents an array of virtually identical buttons controlling everything from ride height to the heated seats. 
For more information about the Macan and any other Porsche visit http://www.porsche.com/

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